At this point, the Mid South does not need further ado.
The gravel festival in Stillwater, Oklahoma last weekend was about as good as a gravel festival gets: an animated expo, shakeout rides for every type of rider, live music, plentiful food and drinks, fast racing, inclusive categories, parties in the back, and a big DFL party at the end.
Nice weather and dry roads? Sure, but that was just good luck. The people are what made the event.
The Mid South is not your typical gravel race, and it’s very proud of that fact.
The event’s branding is strong, and brands have embraced it, too.
What’s a Bobby hug?
Race director Bobby Wintle hugs every single finisher to cross the line on Saturday. Every. Single. One.
Some get kisses, too.
Shakeout rides abound from Thursday to Friday before the main event.
At first I thought this was a Friday shakeout ride picture, but I’m pretty sure he raced like this.
Eight riders from the Washington, DC-based gravel team Melanin Base Miles traveled to Stillwater for the Mid South.
[Jump] for Racial Justice!
The Mid South expo was on all day Friday.
And there was live music all afternoon Friday and all day Saturday.
On Friday evening, Wintle gave his sermon at the rider’s meeting.
Race day: snow, rain, and mud-free!
On Saturday, there was separate, live coverage of the men’s, women’s, and non-binary races.
The Wild Horse Creek crossing at mile 12.5.
“I’ve seen people ride through it, but I wouldn’t call it rideable,” Wintle says.
So far, so good?
Endless (dry) red rollers, what Mid South dreams are made of.
John Borstelmann putting the hammer down.
Bobby Wintle has been waiting his whole life for this moment.
Payson McElveen on his third Mid South victory: This one feels so good! @midsouthgravel has a special place in my heart as the first event that helped me fall in love with gravel racing back in 2019, and gave me the confidence that I could succeed at this discipline. Winning today felt like a relief— an important step in moving past such a challenging season last year.
And, Lauren De Crescenzo repeats victory with her signature solo TT to the finish.
No one finishes the Mid South not smiling.
Or covered in red dirt.
The 100-mile non-binary podium: Apollo Leonard, Rach McBride, and Sam Hansen
Caroline Wreszin, De Crescenzo, and Heather Jackson.
And, Marley Blonskey, DFL.
See you next year!